French Minister for National Education, Higher Education and
Research Gilles de Robien paid a visit to China from February 1-3,
bringing with him some exciting news to all Chinese students having
studied in France or planning to study there.
De Robien announced that the French academic degrees obtained by
Chinese students would be valid across all member states of the EU,
China Youth reported on February 6.
As part of his China tour, the French minister met with his
Chinese counterpart Zhou Ji to discuss education cooperation
between the two countries. After their talks, the two ministers
signed a letter of intent toward the mutual recognition of academic
degrees and certificates.
The letter indicated that when Chinese students have obtained
French academic degrees, these will be recognized throughout the
EU. Furthermore, China and France agreed to cancel limits on
academic degrees and certificates thereby making further education
more convenient for students in both countries.
The agreement will see adjustments made to the administrative
regulations on the mutual recognition of academic degrees, amidst
changes in the new French LMD system (Licence,
Master and Doctorat). LMD is a new system,
implemented by France, to adapt to the wider EU education system.
It sounds a clarion call to mark the ending of the old French
higher education system, seen as being a bastion of pre-war
bureaucracy in desperate need of reform.
Each element of the LMD system finds its equal in China with the
Licence being equal to the Chinese Bachelor's Degree,
Master matching the Chinese Master's degree, and
Doctorat partnering the Chinese Doctor's Degree. In French
universities, a student needs three years to finish the
undergraduate Licence, two further years' study to receive
a Master, and three more years to obtain the postgraduate
The new updates are to be drafted into the official text of the
agreement and will come into effect at the beginning of the first
term in 2007.
According to official French statistics, 16,000 Chinese students
are currently studying in France. In 2006, the French Embassy in
China granted 8,000 to Chinese students. This number is too low, De
Robien stated, adding that both the French government and national
universities would welcome more Chinese students.
He admitted that student accommodation provision is lagging in
France, but pledged that the government is tackling the problem.
France will create 5,000 new dormitories specifically for foreign
students and renew 5,000 used dormitories annually. Amidst this
slew of new measures, the country is also encouraging foreign
students to take part-time jobs. Recently passed regulation now
allows those having finished their studies to work in France for
one more year.
De Robien fervently hoped that the agreement would also
encourage more French students to study in China. Around 11,000 to
12,000 French people are studying Chinese now; with 2,500 of their
peers studying in China.
In order to meet the rising demand for Chinese learning, the
French Ministry of Education has created a specialized position for
Chinese teaching principal. De Robien further revealed that Chinese
teaching will reach secondary education since five to six French
middle schools will establish Chinese teaching departments next
Up to now, China has signed mutual recognition agreement on
academic degrees and certificates with 26 countries. Since 2000,
the number of foreign students coming to China has continuously
risen by over 20 percent. They are spread across close to 500
universities and academic institutes, covering almost all subjects
offered by Chinese academia.
(China.org.cn by Zhou Jing, February 8, 2007)